Monday, September 11, 2017

An Ode to Okra -vs- Oh NO! Okra!

Okra Plant
This is not exactly a poetic tribute to Okra but it does touch on my love/hate relationship with this odd vegetable during this summer.  If you have read any of my other posts, namely, the last one, you will know that I work on a farm where the main part of my job is harvesting.

Harvesting okra is like an intense game of Where's Waldo but played at the pace of, say, hockey. Once the beautiful flower drops, the remaining fruit is well camouflaged among the stalk and leaves and, because it grows at the rate of about a foot a second, the fruit can become tough and inedible if not picked quickly.  So you are constantly trying to keep up.

Adding to the normal fun and games of an okra harvest is my inability to reach the top of the plant as some of the plants are about seven feet high. In addition, I had developed a strange skin reaction to the oils from the plant, and the bushy leaves flying in my face made seeking the fruit more frustrating.

Now we were instructed by our farmer friend Mr. C. that is was a good idea to give Okra a haircut every once in awhile.  I am not sure why this is good for the plant but it sure would make seeing the developing fruit much easier.  But for some unknown reason, I have a hard time performing actions that seem like they are harming a plant.  Another inane action on my part was not wearing gloves which would eliminate my rash problem.  So after a week being stubborn, I decided to take control of the situation.  I took out the clippers and put on my long gloves.  The result, a much better relationship with Okra.

When you get up close and personal with vegetables on a regular basis you come to know them out of context.  Yesterday, sitting in a restaurant with my husband, I glanced on a distant wall and noticed a painting of a flower, blown up very large a la O'Keefe. "That's okra", I said.  Having no okra on our plates my husband was puzzled but then saw I was pointing at the wall with the painting.  Of course I had to get up and go check to see if the artist named the flower in the painting and it was, indeed, okra.

Okra Flower